Button to scroll to the top of the page.

Updates

News

From the College of Natural Sciences
The Universe Doesn’t Stop for the Pandemic

The Universe Doesn’t Stop for the Pandemic

Hobby-Eberly Telescope stands a silent sentinel at McDonald Observatory.

Under one of the darkest skies in the world, in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, a telescope operator at the McDonald Observatory walks alone under the bright stars toward the massive Hobby-Eberly Telescope. Sitting inside the dome and communicating over the internet with their counterparts back in Austin, astronomers punch coordinates into the control panel and guide the huge telescope as it probes distant galaxies and black holes.

New Tool to Guide Decisions on Social Distancing Uses Hospital Data and Emphasizes Protecting the Vulnerable

New Tool to Guide Decisions on Social Distancing Uses Hospital Data and Emphasizes Protecting the Vulnerable

With communities throughout the United States combating surges in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University have created a framework that helps policymakers determine which data to track and when to take action to protect their communities. The model specifies a series of trigger points to help local entities know when to tighten social distancing measures to prevent hospitals from being overrun by virus patients. The method also aims to minimize the economic impact to communities by suggesting the earliest times for safely relaxing restrictions.

E-Cookbook Promotes Healthy Eating Amid COVID-19 and Raises Funds for Charity

E-Cookbook Promotes Healthy Eating Amid COVID-19 and Raises Funds for Charity

The Coordinated Program in Dietetics 2020 class contributed recipes from their diverse cultural backgrounds into an e-cookbook that benefits charity. Back row from left: Matt Landry, Grace Carstens, Kyndal Klose, Eloise Westlake, Jessica Kyle, Cami Eastman, Elizabeth Hill. Middle row from left: Yanni Liu, Danielle Kolsin, Mariam Eid, Linda Steinhardt, Heather Jones, Miao Lin, Hannah Wang, Wendy Snowden, Rose Hyak. Front row from left: Annie Lee, Sarah Johnston, Bailey Irvin, Shannon Sullivan.

A team of 20 undergraduates from the University of Texas at Austin created a donation-based e-cookbook titled "Food: For the Love of Community" that offers easy recipes and guidance on how to maintain healthy food habits amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Studying Radioactive Aluminum in Solar Systems Unlocks Formation Secrets

Studying Radioactive Aluminum in Solar Systems Unlocks Formation Secrets

This artist's concept illustrates a solar system that is a much younger version of our own. Dusty disks, like the one shown here circling the star, are thought to be the breeding grounds of planets, including rocky ones like Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

An international team of astronomers including Stella Offner of The University of Texas at Austin has proposed a new method for the formation of aluminum-26 in star systems that are forming planets. Because its radioactive decay is thought to provide a heat source for the building blocks of planets, called planetesimals, it's important for astronomers to know where aluminum-26 comes from. Their research is published in the current issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

COVID-19 Vaccine Innovation Could Dramatically Speed Up Worldwide Production

COVID-19 Vaccine Innovation Could Dramatically Speed Up Worldwide Production

Jason S. McLellan, associate professor of molecular biosciences, left, and graduate student Daniel Wrapp, right, work in the McLellan Lab at The University of Texas at Austin Monday Feb. 17, 2020.

Responding to a need to quickly develop billions of doses of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, a scientific team at The University of Texas at Austin has successfully redesigned a key protein from the coronavirus, and the modification could enable much faster and more stable production of vaccines worldwide.

UT Austin to Partner in New NSF Quantum Computing Institute

UT Austin to Partner in New NSF Quantum Computing Institute

Illustration credit: Nicolle R. Fuller/National Science Foundation

The University of Texas at Austin's Scott Aaronson is an initial member of a new multi-institution collaboration called the NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Present and Future Quantum Computation. The institute will work to overcome scientific challenges to achieving quantum computing and will design advanced, large-scale quantum computers that employ state-of-the-art scientific algorithms developed by the researchers.

Investigating How to Make Robots Better Team Members

Investigating How to Make Robots Better Team Members

Imagine that you are a robot in a hospital: composed of bolts and bits, running on code, and surrounded by humans. It's your first day on the job, and your task is to help your new human teammates—the hospital's employees—do their job more effectively and efficiently. Mainly, you're fetching things. You've never met the employees before, and don't know how they handle their tasks. How do you know when to ask for instructions? At what point does asking too many questions become disruptive?

Randomized Sampling Could Help Solve Billions of Equations Simultaneously

Randomized Sampling Could Help Solve Billions of Equations Simultaneously

Credit: Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences

Algebra. Mention the word in public and anyone in earshot is likely to run screaming as far from you as possible. Society's mental block when it comes to mathematics is frequently based on a misconception that the kinds of mathematical principles we learn at school - such as algebra – are of little use to us in the real world.

Discovery about Hep C Drug Offers Insights for Coronavirus Treatments

Discovery about Hep C Drug Offers Insights for Coronavirus Treatments

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered how a certain drug is able to stop viral spread for patients with Hepatitis C, and the finding may have important implications for drug developers seeking to stop other RNA viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Dominant Individuals are the Least Influential, Study Finds

Dominant Individuals are the Least Influential, Study Finds

A new study of cichlid fish behavior shows that dominant individuals can influence a group through force, but passive individuals are far better at bringing a group to consensus. Photo credit: The Jordan Lab, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior.

Being the strongest, biggest and most aggressive individual in a group might make you dominant, but it doesn't mean you make all the decisions.